Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Army of widows, orphans trail US war

Iraqi women march with a sign 'No to occupation' in the capital Baghdad's suburb of Sadr City on May 26, 2011.

Source: Press TV

Iraqi government sources have released shocking official figures, pointing to repercussions of the US-led military occupation of the country.

The Arab Times website published the statistics produced in 2008 by credible official sources in Iraq on the invasion that began in 2003.

Figures publicized by Iraq's Ministry of Women's Affairs showed that the US-led military operations had left one million widows.

According to the report, other official estimates point to a whopping 2,500,000 Iraqi fatalities as the result of the invasion, in addition to four million children that were left orphaned by the war.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry has also released figures pointing to 800,000 individuals that had gone missing in the country by January 2008.

American military forces led the invasion of Iraq under the pretext that the country's former dictator Saddam Hussein was stockpiling various types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

However, no such weapons ever turned up in the oil-rich country. Furthermore, it was later revealed that American and British leaders, who vigorously pushed military action against Iraq while insisting on their intelligence on the existence of Iraqi WMDs, in fact knew that there were no such arms stored in the country.

The 50,000-strong American military force that still remaining in Iraq are due to entirely withdraw out of the country by the end of 2011 in line with a bilateral agreement.

Top US officials, however, have intensified their campaign to further extend the military presence in the oil-rich country.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Iraq earlier in the year to plead for an extended deployment of American forces beyond the deadline.

Moreover, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has also asserted that Washington would "keep some American troops in the country” at what he claimed as 'Baghdad's request.'

This is while a number of senior Iraqi authorities and community leaders have insisted on the total pullout of US forces by the previously agreed timeline.

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